The Nashville Predators won consecutive games for the first time this season after downing the Florida Panthers, 4-3, in front of the hometown crowd.
Captain Shea Weber tallied his first goal of the season midway through the first period, beating Jacob Markstrom with a booming slap shot from the point. The 1-0 margin would remain through the opening frame.
Last year’s Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau would tie things up just 1:16 into the second frame as he beat Pekka Rinne for his third of the season. Eleven minutes later, Mike Fisher would put the Preds back in front has he buried a feed from Craig Smith and Seth Jones, but the lead was short lived as former Pred Marcel Goc tied things up just 42 seconds later.
The Preds would get goals from Craig Smith at 1:22 – his first goal of the season – and Patric Hornqvist on the power play to open a two-goal margin just over five minutes into the final period, but Florida cut the deficit late in the third with a bad bounce off of Matt Gilroy’s stick. Nashville and goaltender Pekka Rinne survived a late flurry from the Panthers to hang for the win.
Two Big Things and Notes:
They Come in Pairs: After Ryan Ellis recorded the Preds first multi-point effort of the season on Saturday night against the New York Islanders, Nashville responded with three multiple point outings on Tuesday. Shea Weber posted his first goal of the season and followed that up with his second assist of the year on Craig Smith’s third period goal. It was Weber’s 54th career multi-point outing and his first since April 23, 2013, when he tallied two helpers against Calgary.
Smith also potted his first goal of the season and his third helper of the year en route to being named the game’s First Star. It was his eighth career multi-point game. With his effort on Tuesday, Smith has points in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
With his multiple point effort (1g-1a), Mike Fisher now leads the team in points (2g-3a-5pts) and is tied for the team goals lead (Hornqvist). Tuesday night’s effort was Fisher’s 18th career multiple point outing and his first since April 25, 2013 against Detroit (1g-1a).
Power Play Clicking: After being held without a power-play goal through the first two games of the season, the Preds have recorded four power-play goals in three of their last four outings, and have won each game in which they’ve scored a man-advantage goal. Patric Hornqvist’s game-winning power-play goal on Tuesday night was just the latest in a string of significant man-advantage markers for the Preds this season. Both Filip Forsberg and Seth Jones potted their first career goals on the power play, while Colin Wilson also posted his first goal of the season on the advantage. With Hornqvist’s goal on Tuesday night, the Preds have now moved into the top half of the League in power-play success rate at 22.2 percent (T-12th.)
Nashville outshot Florida 15-8 in the third period, and has now outshot their opponent in three straight games (by a total of 97-67).
Nashville was shorthanded a single time, a season low, and has kept the opposition power-play from scoring in two straight games.
Patric Hornqvist scored his second goal in as many games with his first power-play marker of the season. The Swede's 29 power-play goals since the start of the 2009-10 season are the most on the Predators (two goals ahead of captain Shea Weber).
Paul Gaustad was again excellent in the faceoff circle, winning 14 of 23 draws (61 percent). Tonight was his fifth game at 60 percent or better. He continues to lead the NHL at 66.9 percent on the season.
Kevin Klein led the Predators in ice time for the first time this season, clocking in at 24:11.
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